The Runaway

Mysterious Book Report No. 478

by John Dwaine McKenna

Master of hard-boiled crime fiction and award-winning writer Nick Petrie takes bad-assery to a whole new dimension in his newest (the seventh) novel featuring a PTSD-stricken U.S. Marine veteran named Peter Ash.

The Runaway, (Putnam, $27.00, 400 pages, ISBN 978-0-525-53550-8), begins in rural Montana, where an orphaned, neglected, victimized and beautiful teenaged girl named Helene Johansen impulsively ditches her nowhere job in the middle of the graveyard shift at a broken down convenience store, and takes off with a charming stranger named Roy Wiley.

Several months later, Peter Ash is driving one of the many back roads through rural Nebraska, when he stops to help a seriously pregnant woman with car trouble.  It’s Helene Johansen.  She’s now nineteen years-old and living with a monster named Roy Wiley, who breaks into high-end homes throughout the west and steals valuable paintings, antiques, guns, and furniture which he and his crew then sell for cash.  An ex- cop, he’s also a remorseless, and stone cold serial killer who’s holding Helene against her will.  Although they were married somewhere along the way, she’s afraid he’ll eventually take her life.  But when Peter tries to help, he’s confronted by four armed men and barely escapes with his life.  The young mother-to-be, in order to save herself and her unborn baby, tells her husband that Ash was taking her against her will.  She does her best to be convincing . . . thinks he might even believe her . . . but can’t be certain.  Meanwhile, the ever-gallant Peter Ash is pulling all the stops in order to try and save her.  The crimes and the bodies continue to pile up all the way to a heart-stopping conclusion of this action-filled thriller in which the reader is never quite sure if anyone will make it to the last page and still be alive!!


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